Negotiations between labour unions such as the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, and the government are not always successful because the principle of collective bargaining is not always adhered to by the parties.
Also, some representatives of the negotiating parties lack behaviour modification skills such as emotional intelligence, communication skills, assertiveness skill, and interpersonal skills necessary for arriving at a productive conclusion.
This was the submission of a lecturer at the Lagos State University, LASU, Prof. Akanji Rafiu Bankole while delivering the 87th inaugural lecture of the institution.
The topic of the lecture was “Train the operators the machine shall produce the desired outcome: The human resource management perspective.”
Bankole is a professor of Industrial Conflict and Human Resource Management in the Department of Industrial Relations and Human Resource Management, Faculty of Management Sciences.
“Negotiation is one of the two components of collective bargaining which is the machine referred to in the title of this inaugural lecture. The machine (collective bargaining) is meant to produce sustainable industrial peace and harmonious labour management relations (the desired outcome), but the reverse is the case in our industrial relations space due to the wrong handling of the machine.
“Collective bargaining comprises negotiation and agreement as its components. Therefore, any negotiation that does not end in an agreement is not collective bargaining. In the same vein, any agreement that is imposed on the other party without a negotiation carried out in good faith between the parties cannot be said to be collective bargaining,” he said.
Analysing the various negotiating patterns, Bankole listed positional negotiation patterns and collaborative negotiation patterns.
He suggested the adoption of a collaborative negotiation pattern that would allow parties involved to enlighten one another about their needs and concerns.
While recommending solutions to the problems inherent in inconclusive negotiation, Bankole suggested the effective use of behaviour modification skills in conflict management processes particularly among labour leaders through regular training.
“Employers of labour should complement government efforts in this direction by organizing similar training programmes for members of their management that represent them during the negotiation processes with trade union leaders.
“The Nigerian Employers Consultative Association could also join the train by organizing workshops on conflict management skills for its members,” he stated.
He also called for the incorporation of peace education into the orientation programmes of both public and private organisations to enable the workers to acquire the skills required for the maintenance of peace in the workplace.